Chatham House: Dr Khatib explains that, although Syrian institutions remain intact, they have been hollowed out from the inside as they rely heavily on relationships based on self-interest, not the interests of the state as a whole.

She outlines how the Syrian state has to balance the interests both of Russia and Iran in order to survive and that, although Russia is the dominant partner in this uncomfortable three-way relationship, it is not able to completely prevent the influence of Iran.